30 June 2011

Sunrise, Sunset and a Storm

Sunrise earlier this week.  Such glorious colour,  I just had to capture it!

 Above and below, the waning colours of the day as dusk envelops the sky.

Wednesday was a hot one, with a high of 25 C (our hottest day so far this year), and then, last night, a whopping storm blew in from the west.  Some areas of the city got hail, but we saw only a little lightning, felt a lot of wind, and saw torrents of rain.  Continuous thunderings were heard overhead as the clouds rolled in. (above and below, the storm clouds)

Today is sunny and breezy with a scattering of cumulous clouds floating overhead.  Weather is amazing.  It can change in minutes.  It keeps one looking upwards for what will come next.

Looking up is what we do at Sky Watch Friday.

Fuchsia: Shade Plant Extraordinaire

My fuchsia planted in wire basket with asparagus fern in the center.

Fuchsia, La Campenella.

Last week my husband received a photo from one of his customers with a request for plant identification. Obviously he has been talking about my love of gardening, so this customer wanted information from me regarding the plant and whether or not the berries are edible.  I identified her plant in question as fuchsia but had to research to determine if the berries were indeed edible.  This article is the result of that inquiry. Perhaps it will entice you to give Fuchsia a try if you haven't already.  Aren't they lovely?  Another bonus - hummingbirds are attracted to them too!

"While the original pronunciation from the word's German origin is "fook-sya" /ˈfʊksja/, most English speakers tend to say "fyusha" /ˈfjuːʃə/. As a consequence, fuchsia is often misspelled as fuschia in English." (source Wikipedia)

Recent scientific publications, including articles written by Dr. Dennis E. Breedlove (University of California) and Professor Paul E. Berry (Wisconsin State Herbarium), recognize about 110 species of Fuchsia, divided into twelve sections. The majority of Fuchsia are native to South America, with a few naturally occurring through Central America to Mexico and several originating from New Zealand to Tahiti, the majority of the species being tropical or subtropical.  Most grow as shrubs fro 8 inches to 13 feet tall. There is one New Zealand species, Fuchsia excorticata (Kotukutuku), which is a tree form growing 39-49 feet (12-15 metres) tall.

image from Wikipedia

Depending on the species, fuchsia can be deciduous or evergreen with pendulous eardrop shaped blooms.  Fuchsia flowers have four slender long sepals and for broader, shorter sepals.  The coloration of the sepals varies from specie to specie, some bright red with purple petals, some purple with white petals; varying from whie to dark red, purple and orange, even some yellow tones. The fruit of the fuchsia is a small 5-25mm berry which is edible. Each berry contains several tiny seeds.  The flavour has been compared to that of a grape spiced with black pepper.

Caring for your fuchsia

Outdoors, fuchsia grow best in a shady site.  If you are growing indoors, select a hanging basket with good drainage and place in a sunny window that doesn't get overly hot as the fuchsia does not do well in the heat.  If the plant droops, change location, selecting a site that is cool.  

Fertilize regularly every couple of weeks.  Water in the morning, on a regular routine.  Fuchsias are thirsty and heavy feeders.  If your planter drains too fast, consider adding a drainage tray so some of the water may then be absorbed from the bottom of the planter.  Keep an eye on this though, as you don't want the soil to remain overly wet.

Fuchsias need cool temperatures to flourish, preferably below 65 F.  They can tolerate higher temperatures if the humidity is high as well.  Mist regularly to wash away any insects, such as white fly and red spider mite.  


Fuschias do not tolerate frost, so, before the first frost, spray the plant with insecticidal soap or hose down liberally.  Let dry so it is no longer dripping and then bring indoors.  From October to December, water sparingly, providing only enough moisture to keep the wood from shrivelling.  In January move the plant to a very cool spot, with minimum temperature not cooler than 50 F.  Once live "eyes" are visible, the signs of imminent new growth, trim to remove dead wood and to shape.

Remove the plant from its pot, gently removing the soil from the root ball, and re-plant in fresh fertile soil in the same size pot.  Begin watering more often, as the plant grows.  Pinch back a couple times prior to the end of May to encourage bushiness.  At this point you may transplant to a larger pot or begin supplemental feeding once the roots have filled the soil.


Fuchsias may be grown from seed, sowing indoors in January or February.  You may also propagate using soft green wood cuttings in February or March or August, being the best times.  Cuttings of 3 inches are most successful if taken from suckers which start from the base of the plant.  For cuttings, add horticulture sand to the soil mix to start them, keeping the temperature at a minimum of 60 F.  Mist lightly if the cuttings show signs of wilt.

Note:  all the photos in this posting are of my fuchsia with the exception of the one indicated from Wikipedia.

I'm joining Cottage Flora Thursdays for the first time ever.  
Click on the underlined link to visit other participating gardens.

25 June 2011

Product Trial: Paper Pots Update

It's been about a month since I planted this "Lemon Boy" tomato in this paper pot.  See my initial post here.  The tomato plant has grown well and has the beginnings of flowers.  One problem I am seeing is the yellowing lower leaves.  With all the rain we have received over the last month, this plant is suffering in this pot.  Because the bag is coated with a plastic like finish, the excess water has nowhere to go.  

Luckily the last few days have been sunny, more or less, and the soil has had a bit of a chance to dry out. However, we have more rain forecast for this weekend too.  I'll see how the plant does.  I really don't want to have to abandon the trial and remove the plant to another location.  Fingers crossed for a full season in this paper pot.  I will keep you updated once a month on the progress.  

24 June 2011

Flaunt Your Flowers 24/06/2011

This is the front bed near the entrance.  Seen flowering here are shooting stars (dodecatheon).  I have a few of these in this bed, some bright pink and some more of a lilac pink.  They flower late spring/early summer and then go dormant in the heat of the summer.  I love them for their showiness!

To the back yard we go, making a brief stop by the pond and waterfall.  Here we see irises in bloom, we have three scatterings of them nearby, and the golden reed has set its heads, for lack of a better word.

This pretty little aquilegia, columbine (perhaps Nora Barlow) set seed in the gravel under the deck, just near the clematis.  It's in full bloom right now.  Mom I posted this one just for you, remembering your fondness for this little perennial.

This photo should be with the pond photos but cooperation is not something blogger always agrees upon.  There you have it, a shot of the same irises with Hakuro Nishiki Willow in the background.  This sits on the far side of the pond.  I have noted that, of late, people are calling this little willow "dappled willow". Is it because the Japanese name is so difficult to pronounce?  Perhaps so.

This willow gives the appearance of flowering from a distance as its new growth is dappled white and green tinged with the slightest of pinks.  Quite a pretty shrub that requires a fair bit of water.  It is quite happy this year!

A close-up of the irises by the pond (left and above). Below, a German bearded iris and behind, Jackmanii clematis.

Above you can see our wood pile, stored for use in the firepit on those lovely summer evenings.  Not intentionally included in the photo, but the irises look good!  ;)

A planting of at least three varieties of peony.  I like them planted in front of the window well as a masquerade.  Behind the fountain are the irises (as seen in above photos), the clematis Jackmanii, and to the right bird's nest spruce and far left corner, Alberta Spruce.

This photo is on the other side of the deck stairs.  In front, another bird's nest spruce and behind, Festiva Maxima peony.

Pink Sorbet peony (as seen in above photo by the window well)

Karl Rosenfeld peony.  The colour is off and should read more deep red/burgundy.  This too is planted by the window well.

I think this is Sarah Bernhart peony?  I know there's a bush of them in this bunch.

Festiva Maxima peony (above and below).  A glorious fragrant white peony splashed with red.  Also seen in the photo above.

A view from inside the house looking out upon the planting of peonies by the window well and deck stairs.  I love to sit here at the computer and gaze at these.  I also planted some evening scented stock seed nearby, which are about 1 1/2 inches tall at the moment.  When they bloom it will be like heaven near this window.

Summer Wine Ninebark shrub is in full flower now.

Snow in Summer is almost in full bloom.  Such a pretty little perennial which gradually spreads but is not what I'd call invasive.  It is more clumping, in form, gradually growing out from the edges.  Snow in Summer loves full sun and well-drained, if somewhat dry, soil.

That's what's blooming in my garden this week.  I am linking up with Tootsie for the Flaunt Your Flowers/Fertilizer Friday meme which she hosts every Friday.

What's blooming in your garden?

Shopping.... at a Local Garden Centre

 Outdoor statuary, fountains, bird baths.  I really like the unique design of this one which is seen in the last photo here as well where it has been set up in a display.

This is one of my favourite areas of this greenhouse.  I am fond of the unique shapes of topiaried evergreens.  I'll admit, I have a certain penchant for evergreens, which explains why my garden is planted with so many with different forms and variety.

Large pots of ostrich ferns are displayed with perennial vines and enormous hostas.  Talk about instant impact for your garden!

This photo doesn't capture just how captivating this water feature is.  It was too bright in this greenhouse; which houses the trees, shrubs, perennials and roses; to get a good clear shot.  But, you get the idea.

I visited this greenhouse in May as I was getting supplies for the container gardening class I was preparing to teach.  This, my friends, is a glimpse of the court yard and tree nursery area of Kuhlmann's Market Gardens and Greenhouses in north east Edmonton, Alberta.  They are open year round, featuring a Christmas store in the winter.  Should you be in the neighbourhood, stop in and tell them Shirley from The Gardening Life blog sent  you.  :)

I Need Your Help With a Plant ID

This is my mystery plant which my husband brought home to me last year.  A customer of his gave it to him when he told her how much I love gardening.  She warned, however, that this plant, which she called "Old Man" (not knowing the biological name), is highly invasive.  It apparently spreads like crazy and she has a hedge of it.  For this reason it is planted in a pot and the pot is inserted in the garden.  It has fine foliage, rather wispy and is a fast grower.  It has grown at least 8 inches so far this year. 

 When it arrived to me, it was a couple rather barren sticks, dried out from the journey of at least 6 hours.  I wetted the roots upon arrival and planted it the next day as it was too late that day.

Hubby's customer is right.  This is one tough customer!!  Look at it now.

It hasn't flowered, and I don't know if it does.  Can anyone out there tell me what this plant is?

How Pet Safe is Your Garden?

Canadian Gardening Magazine has a quiz, a true or false questionnaire, for pet owners.  Follow the link and answer the questions on the quiz to see how savvy you are in relation to pets and the garden.

PS  Did you know cocoa mulch is hazardous to your pet's health?

19 June 2011

The Man Who Plants a Tree

To download a PDF illustrated version of the poem, click the image above.
The man who plants a tree
Must first prepare
The fruitful earth
By moving duff or sod,
And cherish in his heart
A silent preyer
For he is working hand in hand with God.
It is a sacred task,
To plant a tree,
That always should be done
On bended knee.
The artisans may strive
For years to raise
A structure reaching
To the vaulted sky,
That well deserves
The everlasting praise
And words of wonderment
From passersby,
But he, the humble man
Who plants a tree,
Is fashioning
His nation’s destiny.
-Richard J. Dorer

Happy Father's Day!

16 June 2011

It's Blooming Time...

from left to right, top row:  peony Sarah Bernhart, iris, shooting star
from left to right, middle row: columbine, geranium, snow in summer
from left to right, bottom row:  shooting star, columbine, summer wine ninebark
Taken June 15, here's what's blooming in my garden.  Finished blooming includes Schubert Chokecherry and European Mountain Ash.  Morden Blush rose is covered in buds and more peonies are about to burst forth in colour.  Also blooming, but not pictured here are some more irises and the Amur maple.

Flaunt Your Flowers/Fertilizer Friday is the perfect opportunity to visit other gardens in bloom.  Be sure to visit Tootsie Time for this meme which runs every Friday.

14 June 2011

The Advantages of Different Perspectives

A beautiful day offered the chance to get outside with the camera again.  I love glimpses like this, looking through the ninebark and the amur maple towards the waterfall and pond.  A new perspective, rather than straight on, shows how important it is to implement different vistas in the landscape.  A new angle presents a totally different view.

 From different angles in the garden, the view is slightly different which is a great treat for the eye.

Water garden designed by my son, M.   


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...